Jesus Christ—The Same Yesterday, Today, and Forever
The inspired penman of Hebrews reminds us repeatedly throughout his epistle of the preeminence of Christ. The Lord Jesus is greater than angels; He is superior to Moses; He is higher than the Jewish high priesthood. His sacrifice is better; His everlasting covenant is better; His ministry is better. The eternal Savior (not expired Judaism) reigns supreme.
Jesus is preeminent for countless reasons. He is Divine and thus worthy of worship (Hebrews 1:5-9). He is the creator and sustainer of the Universe (1:2-3). His reign is “forever and ever” (1:12,8). He is without blemish (4:15; 9:14). He defeated death (13:20). He alone is the “author of eternal salvation” (5:9).
Jesus’ excellency is further established in Hebrews by appealing to the Lord’s amazing immutability. Near the end of the epistle, after an exhortation to remember one’s spiritual leaders (13:7), and prior to giving a warning against “strange doctrines” (13:9), the Hebrews writer reminds his readers of the precious, faith-building truth that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (13:8).
Jesus’ Consistent Character
Society benefits greatly from the dependable and consistent character of its citizens. The steady marriage of a faithful husband and wife will only strengthen the foundation of civilization. The stable, strong, and reliable father gives his family a backbone upon which to lean that will not easily degenerate in difficult times. Faithful, spiritual leaders help keep churches grounded in the Truth, rather than led astray by false doctrine. But such dependable leadership is only found among those who genuinely strive to imitate the consistency of Christ (Hebrews 13:7-9).
By the very fact that Jesus is Divine, He is changeless. God said, “I am the Lord, I do not change” (Malachi 3:6). With the Father of lights, “there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17). Though the material universe will grow old and be changed, God said to Jesus, “You are the same, and Your years will not fail” (Hebrews 1:10-12; Psalm 102:25-27).
Christians should rejoice in the fact that, though “time is filled with swift transition,” our High Priest is perpetually dependable. Our Savior is endlessly steadfast. Christ revealed Himself as the perfectly consistent One. Though He “was in all points tempted as we are,” He was “without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus never once broke the old law, nor was His purpose to destroy it. He came to fulfill it perfectly and completely (Matthew 5:17-19), and through His unblemished sacrifice He established the new covenant (Hebrews 9:14-15).
Even the most difficult of circumstances never caused Jesus’ perfect character to change. Neither 40 days of fasting nor a face-to-face confrontation with the deceitful devil broke His resolve to live consistently with the Will of God. He did not use hunger, homelessness, or weariness as an excuse to become bitter and fickle. Jesus is the perfect foundation of the church because nothing could break His will to build her. Not torture or tears, not the betrayal of friends or the shadow of death, could shake Jesus’ resolve to offer salvation to a fallen world in desperate need of a steadfast Savior.
Jesus’ Consistent Teachings
Jesus’ preeminence is further seen in His perfectly reliable instruction. Unlike the father of lies in whom “there is no truth” (John 8:44), Jesus is the Truth (John 14:6). Unlike the contradictory and “strange doctrines” of false teachers, Jesus’ teachings are beautifully and powerfully dependable. His witness is true. His judgments are true. His counsel is perfectly consistent.
Though the Herodians and the disciples of the Pharisees came to Jesus with phony flattery in hopes of entangling Him in His talk, truer words could actually never be spoken of Jesus: “Teacher, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth; nor do You care about anyone, for You do not regard the person of men” (Matthew 22:16). Proof of Christ’s genuineness and consistency on this occasion is seen in the fact that He immediately called out their hypocrisy before briefly and powerfully answering their question (22:18-22).
Jesus preached a consistent message that was so often about the importance of being consistent. The Sermon on the Mount is a discourse on authentic righteousness in which Jesus gets to the heart of the matter. Praying, fasting, making judgments, doing charitable deeds, etc. are important, but without the proper attitudes and motivations behind these actions—without being righteous on the inside—they profit us nothing (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3). Jesus would later rebuke the scribes and Pharisees as “hypocrites,” saying, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you…, ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me” (Matthew 15:7-8). Outwardly many of the scribes and Pharisees appeared righteous, yet inwardly they were “full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:28). Jesus refused to overlook the inconsistency among the religious leaders of His day. His unchanging nature and consistent message were then, and are today, the greatest tools to fight the “various and strange doctrines” that so often carry men away from the Truth (Hebrews 13:9).
Meditating upon the magnificence of the Messiah is faith building and inspiring. In the book of Hebrews, the Holy Spirit has given us a gold mine of motivation to lift up and serve Jesus as the Son of God. He reigns supreme, and His unwavering, unchangeable nature and message are to be loved and lauded. Praise God that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever!”
*Originally published in Gospel Advocate, December 2014, 156:17-19.